Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Book Recommendation – The Bees

on October 1, 2014

Big Fat Disclaimer: I can’t write a review to save my life, but this was just too good for me to keep to myself, so we’ll call it a recommendation with some of my thoughts and just leave it at that.  Maybe I’ll work on writing reviews – there are a number of books I’ve lately and I’d like to share my thoughts about them.

Do yourself a great big favor and secure yourself of a copy of The Bees by Laline Paull (I just corrected the spelling of her name – Le Sigh).  This came as a recommendation to me (thanks, Ms. BC), and I’m damn glad I didn’t pass it over as it has to be one of the most unusual, gripping, and satisfying reads I’ve had in a very long time.

The Bees is told through the eyes of Flora 717, a bee born into the sanitation cast of her hive.  But she’s not like the other sanitation workers.  In fact, she’s not really like any of the other bees and therein lies the wonder and excitement and despair and danger.  I loved Flora.  I simultaneously ached for her and cheered her on and held my breath and yes, I cried like a baby a couple times.

I want to talk about this book; I want to share my reactions to the bee culture as portrayed and to the characters – and let me tell you, Paull does an amazing job of creating real characters (I had to keep reminding myself that they were bees). I want to talk about Flora’s struggles and her triumphs, her losses and her gifts.  I want to talk about the inner workings of the hive and the habits of the bees.  At the same time, I’m reluctant to divulge even the smallest of details and ruin the story for a potential reader.  Stay away from reviews – there is a huge spoiler in the Washington Post review (read after the fact) that would have seriously diminished my experience , which ran the gamut of delight, horror, anxiety, tears, joy. [Edited to add – don’t even read the description on Amazon – I was going to link there, but then I realized that TMI!!!  Just download it and start reading – you won’t be sorry.]

I know this much – I’ll never look at bees the same way again and I’ll be planting plenty of brightly colored flowers next spring.

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6 responses to “Book Recommendation – The Bees

  1. FuzzieWuzzie says:

    Maeve,
    This book may not be for me. I have pretty strong feelings about bees. 🙂

  2. Mrs. C says:

    Hmmm…I might enjoy this book since I liked Watership Down which was from a rabbit’s perspective and I read my daughters a book called Along Came a Dog from a dog’s perspective. So yes, I can see getting into reading from a bee’s perspective. Would you say this book would also be appropriate for 12-15 yr olds?

    • Maeve says:

      No, mrs. C, it’s absolutely not a children’s book; there are some violent scenes, but it’s not gratuitous

      • Mrs. C says:

        Thanks, I added it to my wish list at Amazon but this will be one I keep to myself. Sigh….I feel like my must-read list is at least two years long. That’s not a bad thing except I want to read everything right now!

    • Maeve says:

      I’m reluctant to give away too much here, but if you want to shoot me an email, I’ll give you some more details

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